The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Steelers 16-10 at Heinz Field on Sunday. But the fallout from the victory is far from over. Vontaze Burfict was involved in a play that ended the season for Le’Veon Bell. Since then, Burfict has been targeted on Twitter with silly threats of retaliation.
The Bengals and Steelers played a game that came down to a defensive battle. On a play during the first half, Bell was running towards the Pittsburgh sideline, when Burfict caught him from behind and tackled him. The Steelers claim he knows he hurt Bell and was celebrating. One Steelers player expressed his anger on social media. Linebacker Vince Williams wasn’t shy about his stance. But Burfict wasn’t backing down either.
— Vontaze Burfict (@King55Tez) November 2, 2015
The tweet from Williams has since been taken down. But the intent and meaning are more than evident. In a statement from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict says he knew nothing about the injury. He was merely jumping up and enjoying the fact that he made a strong tackle.
“We won. He’s mad they lost. I have nothing to say about it. It was a clean hit. Le’Veon is a friend of mine. I didn’t intentionally mean to hurt him. It’s football. He’s going to come back strong.”
It’s football. The Bengals know that and so do the Steelers. The interesting take on the whole incident is the fact that the Steelers are calling the Bengals “dirty players.” It seems like the bullies have become the bullied. Not so long ago, it was the Steelers who were delivering blows that knocked Bengals players out of games.
During the November 1 matchup, Marvin Jones was slammed over the middle with a monstrous hit from Mike Mitchell. Jones was motionless on the field and had to be helped off. Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green remembers what happened.
“We’ve been under Pittsburgh’s thumb for a while. They would like to keep us there. I know they don’t really think a lot of us. They hit Marvin hard on one play and Mike Mitchell walked up to me and yelled, ‘I got you next.'”
In 2008, Keith Rivers was a rookie with the Bengals when he was knocked out of a game by Hines Ward. Ward delivered a blind-side block that broke his jaw and put him out for the rest of the season. There was no flag on the hit. When asked if he would do it again, Ward didn’t hesitate with the answer. Via USA Today, his remarks were brutal and gritty.
“I’ll still hit him. I’ll just get fined. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s either that or try to hurt somebody. So are you going to fine me, or do you want me to end someone’s career? I’d rather take a fine than try to end somebody’s career, so I’m not going to change.”
The hit by Ward was considered clean. But it also resulted in a rules change that was named after the receiver. The change, commonly known as the Hines Ward Rule, includes a 15-yard penalty for offenders.
Either way, it’s football. That’s what Burfict said. By the way, Ward said it too.
Ward was asked about the infamous hard hit from Kimo von Oelhoffen on the Bengals’ Carson Palmer. The hit shredded Palmer’s knee and knocked him out of a 2005 playoff game. That injury resulted in another rules change, known as the Kimo Clause.
“It’s football,” Ward said. “When Kimo went at Carson, it was just a hustle play, he didn’t try to hurt him. You could tell by his expression after he hit him. He felt bad. Any player’s not trying to go out there and hurt somebody and trying to end someone’s career.”
You’re right Hines. It’s football. But why is it so different when a Bengals player puts a hard, clean hit on a Steelers player? The difference is that the Bengals won the game.
[Feature Photo by George Gojkovich / Getty Images]